When Cameron Thrower learned that the theme for this year's Jameson First Shot film contest was "fearing less and inviting life in," he had the perfect character in mind. He just wasn't sure if the judges of the contest--including Kevin Spacey and Trigger Street Productions, Dana Brunetti, and Maggie Gyllenhaal--were ready for it.
"As a gay man, I just want my voice to be heard. I didn't know if Jameson would select this, or if Maggie or Kevin would go for it," Thrower tells Out. "I didn't know how brave of a script they were looking for. I just wanted to take a leap of faith."
That leap of faith was worth it. About 3,000 scripts were written for the contest, each required to address the prompt and have a featured role written for Maggie Gyllenhaal. After all the entries were reviewed, Thrower's short film, Beauty Mark, was chosen as the U.S. winner of the competition, alongside two winners from the U.K. and Australia. Thrower was surprised with the news when he saw that a local movie theater was playing Beauty Marks. He was estatic: "I was so excited to work with Maggie and Kevin, and to get to tell this story, just because it is an LGBT story, and I think we need it more than anything right now."
Beauty Mark stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as Valerie Williams, a door-to-door beauty sales girl living in 1986. Valerie attains an unexpected friendship with a new customer, Mark, who teaches her about inner beauty and purpose. While giving Mark makeup tips, the characters show us that we should never be affraid of who we really are.
Thrower explained that his obsession with the '80s' music, film, and talk shows like the Phil Donahue Show, all proved to be useful in the making of his short. "It was during a time when the spotlight started to shine on our trans brothers and sisters. They were starting to have a voice and we were starting to be introduced to them."
It was the perfect decade for Thrower to put Mark on screen, and he did plenty of research in order to tell the story the right way. "I always want to explore things I don't know 100 percent about. I wanted to ask myself: what would it be like to be so frightened to be who you are that you would invite a complete stranger into your house to help you?"
Thrower is working on his next project, which will explore death, grief, and guilt. No matter the topic, however, Thrower strives to give voices and visibility to those who need it.
"I have a million stories inside of me that I want to get out. I believe there needs to be more voices out there, especially on the commercial side of things. I'm so excited about what's happening on TV right now, but I want to put people on the big screen. That's one of my ultimate goals. To be able to tell these stories, where people don't even walk in and say, 'This is a gay movie.' I want them to walk in and say, 'This is a movie about a relationship between two people, and they're going through this.'"
Beauty Mark premiered on July 30, and can be watched on YouTube and Vimeo, and below: